Monday, 18 May 2020

Remembering a friend -JSD

















 Some of you will remember JSD from 40 years ago.
This is an amazing picture since he as a quasi-intellectual was never ever seen to have shown the slightest interest in his child relatives.
I have observed elsewhere that "it is not that he was against children, he was just oblivious to them!!"
But here he is with two great nephews and maybe a  great-niece/nephew, probably early 80s, in Hartford Connecticut.
What those of us who know JSD would find intriguing is that he actually seems to be enjoying and smiling as the naughty little boys rudely stick their tongues out.  These are his cousin's children. Of course now adults in their 40s or 50s...and they have incorporated these pics into their family genealogical record



This pic is of JSD having graduated from King's Cambridge, almost unrecognisable for those of us who knew him in the 60s and 70s, guess he was in his mid to late 20s.  Possibly both pre-War (Kenya?) & ; post-War  (Cairo?). Worked for the Intelligence Service (what is now MI5). He found Cairo in the Palestinian troubles deeply disturbing.
Those of us who knew him as a University Chaplain and Lecturer in History of Education find it a  bit difficult to connect this photo with the late 60s and 70s.

Spencer was tragically killed as a pedestrian in a late night accident in 1982

There's a little bit  more in another post here




This latter picture was of a "Pontifical High Mass" in the Chapel of The Community of the Resurrection(CR) at Mirfield, Yorkshire. Spencer's family thought this might have been during his time there as a postulant and a novice....but it couldn't be, as the Bishop in question, the saintly Trevor Huddleston who was a member of CR wasn't ordained a bishop until 1960, by which time JSD had left and been ordained as deacon and priest. 
Subsequently becoming a 'missionary' to Australia
Huddleston was a giant amongst people, a great advocate against Apartheid in South Africa one of the heroes of the Church in the 20th Century.
I note, for those of you who care, that he is embracing all orders in his vesture. He's wearing his Episcopal mitre, and underneath his priestly chasuble, and underneath wearing the deacon's dalmatic; and the sub-deacon's tunicle.  
Totally mad, but part of the hilarious fun that is Anglo Catholicism!!!

Remembering a friend. Thanking God for the eccentrics of this world

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Mother's Day

I guess many of us will be thinking of our mothers at this time with Mother's Day on Sunday 10  May in lots of countries [ of course I realise that in the UK Mothering Sunday is in Mid-Lent...this year on 22nd March 2020].

This is my mother Lil (Lillian) who died in 2002.
The photo is taken in (we think) 1946. So she would have been in her mid 20s (25 or 26). It's a beautiful photo of her

This morning we celebrated my eldest daughter's birthday. And it was great to be with both of my daughters who are also mothers, S with 2 girls and one boy, and K who has 2 boys...but still in utero....only weeks ...possibly days to go. And my youngest daughter who has a kitten.

I know my Mum would be so proud of all her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the sense that life has gone on

Not sure if my grandson looks like his great-grandmother. But he's a very happy boy. Credit to the nurture of his Mum and Dad, and the laughing of his sisters

In these days of pestilence, may we rejoice in the good stories of our families.

And my thoughts go out to those who live in unsafe or abusive families.

Go and wash your hands!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

I suppose it marks the beginning of an era






It's taken some time and in the end I had to work around the idiosyncrasies of the system.
I wonder what the lady up the road who has never used a computer would do.  What indeed would my mother have done.
I am sure it has has been lodged but am equally sure there is more road to travel

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Reflection on some Churches in Europe

As I sift through my life in these my latter years, (I am now 67!!...how did that happen?)
I think about many wonderful times there have been to engage with the spirituality of European Christianity
And, indeed, of European society

This is a couple of poems that I wrote as my former wife and I did a minor European Tour in 2007.
Our marriage was no doubt well over by this time.
But we decided that we should do it.
And to be fair  we had a great time.




7 May 2007

Mass in Notre Dame 

My bread is shared today
a gift from total strangers
to eat
with others
who speak not
the language of words
the language of peace.
A clasp
A nod
A word or two
not in English
but in Latin
Pax Dominum
On the top of the Eiffel Tower Sue freaked and had a panic attack, I sort of rallied ( what else can you do?)

 

On top of the Eiffel Tower


There is no redemption
but a sense of awe
there is no reconciliation
but a gift of courage.
Here, in a place
equally as foolish
as Babel
awe, courage, amazement
deep in the loins.
Most of us
get it
maybe not
the young, the brash
who think they know it all
Who smoke
to show they can
and shout
lest no one know
how brave they are,
how central
how they are.

But on this foolishness
it is not God
but Paris
all around.
And the wind changes
and cold
and we all
old and young
decide enough is enough
of human invention

6 May 2007 --10 p.m.

Mass in Sacre Coeur

On the steps of Paris
they sing
in impromptu concert
while within the white domed church
Dominus is intoned.
Each, oblivious to the other
the mystery within
flows without

In the cool darkness of the night
we flee
back to the pee stinking tunnels
and the steps
that crush the knees;
it was mystery
it is over

4 May 2007(?)

In La Sistina


We lost each other
Making our our way to the centre
I stood alone
while a spikey haired man went
"Shh!"
then would scream in anger
"No pitch!" and then "I said No Pitch!"
It does not alter the wonder
of a ceiling or a wall
declaring the mystery of God
it does tell us
No pictures! No pictures!
Save the pictures in our heart(maybe)
which we could not share
because we were lost

Friday, 22 November 2019

Pre-Ascension Chat

As you speak to me
before you go
I am reminded
to not be anxious
about small flashing lights
and that you are
the loved son
who is within
drawing out
the loved son in me

Allow yourself to be healed
and to pick up the snake
that has always frightened you
and whose very presence
rather than touch
has been what has poisoned
your loved-son life

You have picked it up
and still live.
the poison does not appear
to have worked

It may have been
life saving
love giving

Even  as I wave goodbye 


Monday, 18 November 2019

Afternoon in Jericho

Saturday afternoon in Jericho
Saturday afternoon

in Jericho;

the place seems deserted;

it reminds me of childhood Sundays

in Whitehaven



There is no blind man

by the side of the road,

well not one that I can see

any way.

And that is rather the point 






this is a reflection on Luke 18:35-43   The blind man who sits by the road (today's Mass Reading)

It actually alludes to a Saturday afternoon some years ago in the Holy Lands, we were coming back to Jerusalem from Galilee when we stopped for a break in Jericho. It seemed deserted .

Of course I realised only today (some years later) that we there on the Shabbat 

Likewise, Whitehaven in the 50s and early 60s reminded me of the Sabbath , which for us was Sunday.

Only got this today...so I reiterate 

There is no blind man...well none that I can see

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

What to say ....at a funeral.

It was nice to go out to lunch today ( in the wake of 'retirement') with some friends (from University days....would that be 50 years ago?) and one of us asked the two priest present...how do you cope with funerals and grief.    
It is a question that has taxed me over the years... for funerals have been ever present.
Early in my ordained ministry I was asked  "What do you like about ministry?" and unguardedly I said 
"Well I quite like funerals!"
Looking back it's a curious thing to have s.  But I have thought often..it is true.!!

So, last week I went to participate in the obsequies of J, who had been both ballet dancer and surfer... that's Australia for you. 
Leonie, who was leading us, reminded us of the traditional Hawaiian practice of  Ho’oponopono...she framed it thus wise ( which is more expansive than the narrow way)
  • I am sorry, please forgive me.  
  • I forgive you....
  • Thank you
  • I love you

 This calls us to attend to what is important in a person's life
  • I have made mistakes...forgive me
  • You have made mistakes ..   I forgive you
  • Thank you for all the giftedness that  we have shared
  • In the end, there is nothing greater than to say ...I love you ...or at the least ...I want to love you
At the very least, I thought this seems to have got it right


Sunday, 10 November 2019

A new way - let's sing

This week has been interesting.
Last Sunday we had a wonderful Mass to conclude my ministry at St Mary Magdalene's.
It was nice that quite a few folk gathered together.
Particularly  my three daughters who with my two granddaughters sang to me.
In our family this is the way you show how much you love  another person.
I often tell the story, with great  joy, how my first son-in-law Dénes said to to Sarah, his beloved, "Your family always sing at each other!!"
It was good to hear an 'outsider'  [ for such he was then] discover this great treasure....WE just did it...sang G & S, Barby Girl, Musicals...all the time.

When I was younger and we used to drive to far beaches in SA in the car we would sing Church songs, the Beaumont Folk Mass...and all sorts of other things. My Dad, who was not particularly religious, used to love it. 
I just muse that  now Dénes now sings to his daughters ... and indeed to us all.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Bloody hard

Australia is a rugged country, most people who live elsewhere get this. Perhaps we who live here find it a bit curious, and find that we are not so much rugged or tough, but laid back.
We often say that we are the land of the ‘fair go’. But like so many such statements, the ones who get ‘the fair go’ are those who are doing pretty well already, thank you very much.

One of the things that has saddened me in the more than half a century I have lived here, is that our hearts seem to have become increasingly hardened.
Not rugged but HARD.
We are no longer saying,”If you want to live here then you have to work hard, and pull your weight.”
We are saying stupid stuff like
“We are full!”
“Go back to where you came from.”
“If you come by boat you will never settle here!”
Now, I came here by boat in 1967.But then I am white, I was born in the UK…and though I may have some non-Aryan ancestry…yet of course I speak English ( and a smattering of other languages…looking forward to retiring to brush up on Bahasa Indonesia !)
Curiously we moved into a South Australian industrial town, Whyalla, as did hundreds of other UK citizens in the late 60s. There was a real sense of ‘ghetto’.


I went to the central High School ….I had never experienced ethnic discrimination before …but I did there. I was a Pom!
People laughed at my accent (NW England) as if they some how had the key as to how English should be spoken.
Let me tell you that Maroon …is pronounced MAH ROO N
Not MA RAWN!!!
That it’s perfectly OK to say DANCE with a hard ‘a’ and you can say DARNCE if you want to…but who cares?
To provincial South Australians these seemed like linguistic baseball bats.
We tended to retreat to our ethnic homelands…so my four close friends were from Liverpool, Tyneside, Luton and North Wales.
By the time I graduated with education degrees and became a teacher in the third High School the tables had reversed.
In that school 85% of the students were not born in Australia. Most came from the UK with about 10% a mix of Greeks, Italians, French and others.
While I realise I was subjected to the pejorative “Pom”…in the Eastern school, the Aussies were “Skips” in the Western school …and thought to be as thick as two planks.
This is how prejudice works, not with logic but with the prejudice of the majority mocking the minority.
All of this is of course nonsense.
I was fortunate to have teachers who realised that when I was a minority “Pom”, I had actually probably had better schooling in Maths, Physics and Chemistry before I came to school in Australia than they had been able to deliver. John Lyon my Chemistry teacher was one of the first to spot this.
He gave me an A in my first series of reports even though I had been taught under an ‘old fashioned’ way. He took time help me translate this, and I accelerated with his help.
Five years later, inspired by him I guess, I went to be a teacher in school of which he was Head (Stuart High School). I understand now that he had not only an educational vision, but also a spiritual, philosophical and theological vision of what a school might be. I liked that.
Deeply influenced by liberal Protestant theology. He promoted such epithets as “Freedom to choose!” and “Acceptance of consequence” deeply seated in the theology of Tillich, Bonhoeffer and others.
Made sense to me.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Seeing as God sees

Readings for this week September 8th 2019 (proper 23) Pentecost 13 are taken from the following selection :


The potter at the wheel

is a very evocative image,

more so to those who would have witnessed it (like Jesus)

in their own backyards.

They would have seen
the craftsman start to make the pot
and then decide
"This is not quite right"
and squash it all down
and start again. 
I remember many years ago going to Bendigo Pottery
the thing that most amazed me 
was not the fine pottery in the top-end Showroom
which is indeed wonderful
but the Seconds Showroom 
which seemed to  go on for miles
(this was the stuff that was not good enough of course they are playing their market a bit )

I certainly found their, considerably cheaper seconds, 
to be excellent
Better than what I can find at Target or KMart.

Often the amateur
looks on with amazement 
as the potter smashes it down 
or chucks it away;
wondering why the work has begun again.
To us it looks OK
to the artist, the craftsman, the master
they see something
that needs more and more and,
yet more work

So, this is a quite a useful image
for you and me
of the way God sees us.
We may think we are OK
or that there is not much that can be done
but God views us rather differently than we view ourselves. 
It is not that God looks at us
and thinks we are a mess;
but rather that God looks at us
and sees more than we see 
God sees that we are good
that we are worthy of love.
As popular commentators have crudely put it
"God doesn't make trash!"
I am not,
you are ,
Garbage!
So Paul revisits quite a lot of his old friendships,
and relationships
...like this one with Onesimus
and finds with maturer and deeper reflection
that things change.
He says to Philemon
"You know you and I used to think of him as USELESS "
The name
Ονησιμος ('onesimos' actually means useful, profitable or beneficial in Greek)
but they had smugly ( as arrogant young men do) nicknamed him 
Useless
Paul was not always given to kind reflections,
but he does not stand still 
"God does not make trash!"
and there is a sense
in which Paul becomes more compassionate,
more charitable 
dare we say
more Christlike
as he grows older.
So might this happen to all of us!

THIS WEEK
  • Take a few moments to ask God if you are seeing your life as God sees it.
  • Is there something about your life that you are just not understanding?
  • Do you have a relationship with another person that needs to be re-evaluated in a more positive light? Are there things that need to be begun again?
  • And remember, sometimes what looks or feels like destruction is a new beginning

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Change and decay in all around I see


I was ordained almost forty years ago at  a time when the Church was ‘different’.
Within a few years we had been shaken to our bootstraps by scandals that could never have been  imagined. 

Perhaps they should have been dealt with decades before, and it is awful that they weren’t.
Confidence in the Church was deeply shaken.
I can admit , now, on reflection  that I found this difficult. More difficult than I realised



I was ordained  as a trusted community worker.
I became a person whose integrity was completely and utterly challenged.

We were betrayed by a whole range of people who had used their positions of trust and respect to abuse other persons, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Personally I recognise that I went from being a person held in high regard  to one who who was automatically distrusted.
In a few short years we went from the church being an institution where people could be safe to one where people were immediately suspicious.
One of the consequences of this was that numbers dropped quite dramatically.
In the mid 90s I would have expected  that we might have had 200-250 worshippers each week.
It is now remarkable if we have half that number.
Nevertheless, I am still thankful that many people have done more than just reject the church’s ministry. They have recognised that the majority of Christian people continue to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.
The few, and I think it is ‘a few’ who  betrayed the trust that should have been expected of them, have seriously weakened the Church.
It is probably a good...but it is certainly a painful , thing.
I want to urge any who still are harbouring hurts to come forward and invite the processes to work for their benefit. I pray that I may not have been one who has precipitated any abuse.
For the rest of us, it is good to have had our egos deflated, and our self-importance crushed.

Jesus identifies not with the abuser, but with the abused.  Not with the strong but with the weak. Not with the bully but with the victimised

(this is a reworking of a reflection I made as I left my last parish after 18 years. Much of what I said then bears repeating)


Monday, 2 September 2019

Over the hill... beyond the next Advance Care Directive

Well this is an uplifting topic !  I have written two Advance Care Directives (ACD)in the last few years .
[You can now do it quite easily on-line (Link to SA Legal Services Form is here (https://advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au/https://advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au/)…I guess if you live outside God’s Own Country (SA) you can Google your local links.]
 
So I’m blogging about this because it is one of those things we need to attend to as we get older.

What exactly is it?
We are simply sharing with those who are going to be affected ( our children and grandchildren, and our friends and associates) what we might like to happen as we prepare to die.
Now I am aware that when I revealed my first directive to my three daughters one Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago…I wanted them to sign their agreement to act as my agents, it was for me an invitation to say to them “I trust you”…and I realise that’s a risk, my experience has been that children do not always deal well with the deaths of their parents. Or indeed of their children, or their siblings.
But I do know and believe that though they/we may not want to do it.
That is NOT the point.
We MUST do it.
For our own well-being, for the well-being of our children and grandchildren.
The way to deal with death is to meet it in the garden (some of us will easily get this) and cry and say,
“They have taken him away and I don’t know where they have laid him.”
We said this about my own mother, they came and took her away while we were sitting around discussing what to do.
Ambulance men (sic for such they were) came and took my Dad and dealt carelessly with his body.

So, any way, getting back to that fateful  Sunday when the three beloved were to simply sign their agreement to act. To care for me, and each other and all the others.
The first ACD, was fairly innocuous.
Let’s face it I was not planning to fall off the twig.
So I passed the copies around…..
Daughter number 2 ( The third S Clark) ….couldn’t do it…
“I don’t want to do this”, she said. Tears flooded. ( It’s one of her hallmark responses)
Not quite sure what she thought …I was certainly not about to die,
and she was certainly not going to stop me from dying by refusing to sign.
I am a bit unsure whether we managed to sign the documents that day.  It doesn’t matter I have written another since then….have to get it signed.
It was instructive about how precious this stuff is with which we deal. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”
It’s not up to me to ignore my children’s sensibilities and tell them to “Muscle up!”  They are three very strong women…almost frightening. And I have observed about them in the past.
“They are exactly what I would want them to be. Assertive, intelligent and kind. I am just not so sure that I want them to assert all over me”
And of course they are my little girls, with hearts easily broken. Of this treasure I must be careful.
I hope this is a wisdom of age.

Was very struck by a discussion on RN Saturday Extra with the wonderful Geraldine Doogue (31/8/19) which talked about Palliative Care and ACDs and reminded us that we have come a long way in the forty years since I was ordained. It reminds us that ACDs are not just ‘tick boxes’ they are processes which need care
Hopefully when I present the next now to be signed ACD, we may all enter into this.
And, of course, I probably won’t be there when the rubber hits the road. I will just have to ‘trust them’.
And I do.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Looking forward

I am glad I began this series of posts with the story of Jason, he didn’t turn up for Mass today. Nor, more importantly did She.  I still hope he might connect that Tuesday or Thursday we are open. I am sad that we can’t do 24/7…we managed it in one the two churches in the last parish . But that was because I lived next door.  

And there was the famous incident of Romeo and Juliet sleeping under the altar…but that’s a story for another day… I was in that parish for eighteen years and after sixteen years  or more a couple of people did begin to articulate “It’s great that we can keep the Church open!”  But I wonder if it’s open now.






 

I didn’t mean to project a false humility about my encounter with the broken J.  But worry that I may have done that.
I think ( after a long time) as a pastor that I still don’t have much of a clue.
This series of posts is about the last two months of my full-time ministry as a parish priest.
It is not that I am going to stop being a priest. I am one of those who think that ordination ontologically changed me and I will be ‘a priest for ever’ [Hebrews 7:17 ” For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.””]
This may be a romantic idea , but it works for me in my understanding that the call to priesthood is a universal charge on my whole being.
I am inclined to think that I cannot divorce myself from my priesthood. There is is a lot of psychoanalysis, no doubt, that could transpire. But so what it works for me!
I don’t want to be divorced from my priesthood, and I don’t think my priesthood is rejecting me.
So, this is quite an important reflection for me, because in two months I will celebrate a Eucharist as a parish priest, knowing that this will be the last time I will celebrate as a parish priest…and this after nearly forty years.
It’s taken a little while to work this through, but I am pretty sure that I am not defined by being a parish priest.
I may be defined by being a priest, but as close as I have been to parish life,  I can move away from it.
The curiosity of this is that I will have a bit of a break ( maybe six months) and then I will pickup locus work here and there .
I don’t quite know what locum work will be like. I know a lot of people in the Diocese and have a fairly good feel for how local parishes work, so I can do this.
I think I will do it gladly and with joy. I will pander to my own need to preach…and to be appreciated for being able to do this relatively well.
I think that ‘preaching’ is one of my charismatic gifts. And can act out of that model.

I wonder if you have questions about all this. And would be glad to respond.
Leave them littered around..either on the blog or on Facebook. And I will see what I can do

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Making sense of being a priest

My most confronting encounter this week has been with Jason. 

After the Traditional Mass he wandered into the porch , thank God for the open Church.  He just wanted to sit down, or so it seemed, and though I was ready to ‘up and go’ I thought the least I should do was give him some time.
He was clearly in some distress, and his speech was almost unintelligible.The Grandpa in me tells me that you just have to give this some time…try talking to a two year old . It’s not that they are not talking it is that I am not hearing.
Jason sat quietly in front of the glorious image of the risen Jesus with the open wounded hands and tears were flooding.
Oh shit! What am I going to do? This guy has come wanting to receive and can I deliver? Pretty obviously, not!
It is as this point I have to realise thatI am not the one who has to deliver. Why would he want what I have to offer?
“I’ll just sit here, and you just take your time!”  It was the least I could do, and yet I rather begrudged it.
“Do you want me to pray for you?”  I asked. 

Fairly confident that I know how to pray. Not just ritualistically, but with meaning and with the courage to pray for deliverance if necessary.
“Maybe later,” he says. 

So I go and sit down quietly behind him. And for once say nothing!
His tears were flowing, makes me cry now just writing about it. 

His barely intelligible utterances talked of a woman who had been raped and told she would never have children.
That broken woman had met this broken man and they had borne a child…I wrote that they had  fathered a child….and I think that was important for Jason he was a father and felt totally incapable being so. 

In his ramblings he alluded to three others, I am not sure if he was the father. Possibly…even probably.
Then he lapsed into “I don’t want to go to jail, they are just horrible to me in there.”
What had happened I do not want to know, but we can all imagine. 

I do not want to know. But maybe my turning away is part of the problem.
I had waves of fear about him because he seemed erratic, crazed. 

I asked him if he was taking drugs.
He told me he wasn’t. And I believe him. 

But I knew, and he knew that I knew that his mind had been crippled by f&$%in’ meth. 
Don’t use that term lightly.
This was a beautiful man, of gentle spirit  whose humanity has been crippled by the careless greed of the pushers,
I repeat again:
“Oh shit! What am I going to do? This guy has come wanting to receive and can I deliver? Pretty obviously, not!”
We couldn’t sit there for ever, 

I prayed with him.
A gentle prayer, and prayer for deliverance (exorcism)…I am not afeared to pray so [ thank you A J Davies…who though a curious man taught me to trust the prayer …. and deliver us from evil]
As we took a quarter of an hour to leave 

he talked about Her…the mother of the children, 
who was coming in on an interstate bus.
“She will love this place.”
I had to tell him the Church was not open all the time, Tuesdays and Thursdays and of course Sundays.

I really hope we see them ...our prayers   genuine prayers   will be there for them

I was totally struck that he knew how he had been touched by our Shrine.
 

And my heart thrilled, whilst also being sad that he had to blow his nose on his tee shirt because he was so overcome. (  I wanted him to have my used handkerchief, but thought that was a bit disgusting....on reflection it was probably not)
 

Let us not ever begin to think that we live in a country where everyone is equal!!
 

And God forgive me for my failure to be Jesus to this beautiful man.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Spencer Dunkerley 1916-1982 (Year's mind 3 July)


Spencer Dunkerley

I met Spencer, for so he was ever  known , when I went to St Mark’s College, Adelaide in the early 70s. He was at that time  a Lecturer in History of Education at the  University of Adelaide.

But most of his students  sussed early on that he was boring and lacked the capacity to deliver… a dull voice and he had a total lack of awareness that he was NOT connecting with the couple of hundred folk who were supposed to receive his wisdom.  His content was rock solid, so thank goodness he provided good notes ..in the days long-before it was usual for Lecturers to provide same.

Spencer was born in Oldham, Lancashire c 1916 He was privileged to go to Manchester Grammar School, one of the schools which straddled the state/private school system.

He went to Kings College Cambridge in the pre-war period and consolidated an already expansive knowledge of modern history there.

There is a record of his commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps on 25 Jan 1942, my memory is that he served in the Middle East and particularly in Cairo (prior to the Israel ‘resettlement’), and then subsequently in Africa as a functionary of the Foreign Office burning unused currency ( a funny story for another day)

Post-war he tested his vocation at the Community of the  Resurrection, Mirfield, Yorkshire -(https://www.mirfield.org.uk/) but did not proceed to profession. He was however prepared for ordination and duly ordained ( not a 100% sure but maybe for St Nicholas Leicester or Coventry…by Bp Guy Smith (c 1952.) or perhaps Cuthbert Bardsley for Coventry...am thinking the latter)

Spencer subsequently came as  a ‘missionary’ to be a Bush Brother in Queensland [ maybe the Brotherhood of St Paul, or the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd…not sure which]…either way he drove outback Queensland in a Mini,  which was a miracle in itself.  he was a fairly hair-raising driver!



(Spencer (L) with the saintly Fr Percy Smith a pioneer advocate and pastor to young indigenous men in Alice Springs, and Port Adelaide watch the Charles Perkins video here )





He was seduced to Adelaide in the 60s to be a Chaplain at the University, and then to be   a senior Lecturer  in the Department of Education. He lived as resident fellow at St Mark’s College until his retirement c. 1980.



Spencer was tragically killed at Edwardstown, South Australia when struck by a motor vehicle on 3rd July 1982 at about 11 p.m. outside his home.

His funeral was held at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Adelaide and his burial at St Mary’s on the Sturt 1163 South Rd, St Mary’s. Archbishop Keith Rayner presided at the Funeral, and I officiated at the burial. Many of Spencer’s friends  and students were present and a fine young cohort of univeristy and St Mark's students  acted as pall-bearers.



                             “he was a good priest…and I liked him”






Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Wish I was more optimistic about hate speech

I have said on numerous occasions that "Australian Christian Lobby" is a total misnomer. This ragtag group of aggressive evangelical/pentecostal people ( not ALL Pentecostals or Evangelicals by any means but certainly a significant and outspoken number) . I have been an Australian for over 50 years and I have been a Christian for almost 67 years...and in NO WAY does the ACL represent me...or most of the Australians or Christians I know. I find their theology violent and unloving...and indeed un-Christian. I would urge other Christians and Australians to repudiate their hate-filled homophobic agenda...I am not optimistic!!

Monday, 24 June 2019

Picking and choosing what gets you into Hell

So, like most amateur preachers,(nothing wrong with that in my opinion. )  Israel Folau picks and chooses from Holy Writ what he condemns

(why for example has he totally and grossly ignored the Levitical condemnation against tattoos (Leviticus 19:28)“‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord....which curiously (in chs 18-19) stand alongside each other.  More importantly look at 19:16 :
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour’s life. I am the Lord."

Given that it is clear that gay-identified teenagers are three times (at least) more likely to attempt suicide....what responsibility do the Folaus' take for contributing to this. Apparently none!

Friday, 15 February 2019

Back to bloggin' ...fig chutney

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness... not quite at Autumn yet.. but we appear to have had the 'fortnight of pain' hoffentlich...a curious German/Deutsch word which means more than hopefully
So we love this season...late summer..beautifully 30+ for some days this week then mid 20s. But looks like weeks of 40 s are gone.
So amidst all this there is the mellow fruitfulness of the late fruit harvest,
Chief amongst these are the figs. The gentle succulent fruit, which fits the SA climate because we are Mediterranean.

I picked a bag and a half from the youngest S Clark's tree yesterday....and will be back to pick more tomorrow!!....I suppose we enjoyed eating half of them. I just think they are so gentle and beautiful, and your insides feel good when you eat figs.
Any way what do you do with them when they ripen so quickly and need to be dealt with, otherwise they are wasted.
So I have made some fig and tomato chutney this afternoon.
Simple ingredients of tomatoes, figs, brown sugar, serious vinegar (viz brown,caramelised, balsamic...and I used a bit of guava. Serious amounts a garlic...we Australians are like that...and onion. A cinammon stick really lifts the flavour...and ginger ( pickled or fresh.. or both), mustard seeds and coriander. I will also add fresh basil.
I think the figs just receive the blessing of companion foods.
I am resisting the temptation to add chili...maybe tomorrow's iteration.
God bless the season of mists and figly fruitfulness

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Easy for you to say

I spoke in a previous post
about  how the Ration Challenge is  obsessed with food. But I have opined elsewhere that the real battle of the 21st century is about WATER ...and not just about water...but about POTABLE water. That is, water that is safe to drink...I would not be thinking (even though I live close to the Linear Park at Allenby Gardens) that I would allow the two most beautiful grandchildren in the world to avail themselves of that water...the River Torrens Adelaide.
It's one thing to  talk about water....but can you drink it?

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Save us from zealots

I continue on my merry way with the Act for Peace Ration Challenge

I know the Roti, or flatbread doesn't look particularly appetising.

But I was surprised about how good it was.

For a person who's devoted to breakfast toast; I was more than happy to have this carbohydrate of flour and water.

No breakfast eggs!

One of the things that does concern me about the Challenge is its obsession with food!

While obviously that is important, there is also lots of other stuff.

A few years ago I was privileged to be in the Holy Lands (sic)... I note that the modern state of Israel is not THE Holy Land.

OLJC was up around Syria...we drove into the Golan Heights, once a place of fierce battle..then (2011) a desolate and barren desert...but once again a battleground.



And my friends  Jen and Bill went to Damascus, thrilled to go to Straight Street (the street called Straight) where blessed Paul regained his sight...and they brought me seasonings from afar ( Za'atar  (  Arabicزَعْتَر‎, IPA: [ˈzaʕtar]   ) would have liked them during this Ration Challenge.



And we have seen the blatant vandalism of this great city by east and west alike.

God preserve us from the causes of misguided zealots.

Monday, 18 June 2018

It's only a week!

You'll see from the change to the header that this week, 17-24 June is The Ration Challenge.
This is a promotional activity of the Council of Churches to raise money (this year) for refugee work with Syrian refugees.
They are but one group of refugees amongst many cast on the world's woes.
Basically it's a sponsorship deal ...and I am being sponsored by a few (hopefully more . go here  https://my.rationchallenge.org.au/stephan-clark).
This pic is a 'set-up' riding on my breakfast.

Today's breakfast was Rice, rice, and more rice.

I often have great deliberations over breakfast...shall my eggs be scrambled? Or shall I poach them ... in a poacher, or in a tumbling pot (where the water is gently churning). Sometime I like perfectly fried eggs...these are not just chucked in the pan...the oil is gently warmed and the eggs cooked slowly...God save us!

All this and breakfast too.
I stop for a moment and realise (trying not to be a ridiculously pious priest) that I don't imagine most Syrian refugees have an egg...let alone can worry about poaching, scrambling or frying.

And I give thanks that my grandadughter (like me) loves gruel [thin porridge]...[we sometimes phone each other during breakfast and enjoy each other enjoying porridge!]

I can't have any for a week. BUT it's only a week! I need to get over myself

Friday, 30 March 2018

One a penny...


Was interested in Big W's 'cookbook'....here are their"Hot Cross Buns" 
none of which seem to me to be Trad...but all seem yummy: 
Date Orange and LSA(don't even ask); 
Pear & Pecan with Maple Glaze[good idea]; 
Carrot and Sultana (very Sophie Vegan!); 
Mega Chocolate Buns (pictured)..(What the?) ; 

& finally Dairy & Egg-free [the closest thing to Trad...but contain 'egg-replacer' (it's the War all over again) . 
The single Hot C-B factor is that you pipe the sacred sign in 'flour paste'....
My people what have you done!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Faintly Bemused

It has now been over a week since the Federal Parliament passed legislation to allow marriage equality. I have watched local papers for the tedious flow of letters that might have followed.
But curiously there have been none.
What! The skies have not fallen in.
In fact, it all seems to be a bit ho-hum.
Exactly what we all predicted.
We have spent over a  100 million pursuing a questionnaire no one wanted, which  exaggerated popular fears and which told us what we all already knew.

I am personally glad, as a priest-religious celebrant that we have taken this step.
I doubt,  that I as a priest of the Anglican Church, under the rules of our organisation will live to see a marriage between two men or two women, or  intersex men and/or women in one of our 'hallowed precincts'. While I am sad about that I do get it.
And, as I choose to remain an Anglican, I endure that sadness.
Sorry because I think we can do better, as our Scottish, New Zealand, American & Canadian sisters and brothers have done and will do.

Meanwhile I am 'bemused' and totally GLAD that Australia has so embraced Marriage Equality that it is a non-issue